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November 24, 2015

Distribution of polymer-on-peptide nanotubes

A theoretical simulation of the distribution of polymer-on-peptide nanotubes and an electron microscopy image of the nanocomposite.

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Americans, on average, replace their mobile phones every 22 months, junking more than 150 million phones a year. When it comes to processing all this waste, even low exposure to the electronics in these phones can cause significant health risks. Now, University of Missouri (MU) researchers are on the path to creating biodegradable electronics by using organic components in screen displays.

Suchismita Guha, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at MU College of Arts and Science, collaborated with colleagues to develop organic structures that can be used to light handheld device screens. Using peptides, or proteins, the researchers were able to demonstrate that these tiny structures, when combined with a blue, light-emitting polymer, could successfully be used in displays.

The researchers' advancements could one day help reduce electronic waste in the world's landfills.

The research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant IIA 13-39011).

To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story Researchers take first steps to create biodegradable displays for electronics. (Date image taken: September 2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Nov. 24, 2015)

Credit: Suchismita Guha, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri

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